Last weekend the weather was forecast to be beautiful, so we made a last minute decision to go camping, and convinced a few friends to come. After a few emails back and forth we settled on Joffre Lakes. The park website had some serious warnings about ice on the trail. We figured it probably wasn't so bad, but still decided to bring microspikes for all the adults, and Christian stayed up a few extra hours making kid crampons for the four hiking kids. In the end the kids ended up disappointed due to the lack of ice on the trail. One of them still insisted on wearing the crampons on a ice covered mud puddle at the upper lake.
We arrived at the parking lot around 11am and managed to snatch the last free parking spot. Scott and Sandra had to park at the new lower lot. The trail was busy. It seemed particularly busy when you are wearing giant backpacks and have four young kids blocking the way of other hikers. The kids did amazing though and we arrived at the second lake within a couple of hours with very little complaining. Christian had put his new hiking tactic - the "slow down you whipper-snappers you're hiking too fast!" game to good work. We had a long break and only lost a few gold fish crackers and half a bagel to the very aggressive whisky jacks.
The trail around the upper lake was more like a scramble for little legs and ended up taking almost as long as the rest of the trail. It was nice to leave the crowds behind at the far side of the lake though. At the campsite, the kids were off exploring right away while we set up tents and cooked dinner. It was a cold night, but once the sun had set the stars came out, and they were spectacular. I fell asleep while putting N to bed, so i did not notice that Christian and F had set up their sleeping bags outside. I woke up around 9pm and registered that they were gone, and then proceeded to lie there very still not to wake N up, while I worried were they might be. It was not until 40 min later that I finally realized that their mats and sleeping bags were also missing, and when I looked outside the tent I saw them sleeping under the stars. In the morning they both spoke about how special it was to stargaze together. F was excited to have seen her first shooting stars, and Christian was excited to notice the earth's rotation and the milky way were way out-of-plane compared to each other... but mostly they were both excited to have spent the night out doing something special together.
We had a very relaxed morning. The kids spent a lot of time playing hide and seek in the boulders and breaking the ice formed overnight on the lake. Around 11am we started heading down. We had a long lunch break at the other end of the upper lake enjoying the warm sun before heading down. Once we hit the improved trail I could no longer keep up while carrying N. The kids were running down the trail. At some point I heard some serious crying and I quickly caught up to Christian and Carter. S had fallen on the trail hitting his head on a rock. He had a big goose egg on his forehead, and a puncture wound under his eye. Luckily he seemed to be fully with it, and even slightly annoyed that Christian kept asking him what he had had for breakfast. Carter carried him the rest of the way down. We were all happy that he seemed alright when we got to the cars.